One reader is searching for a way to prevent or treat urticaria, or hives. What advice can readers offer? If a hives condition is present, there must be an allergen causing it. Get treated at once, says one kinesiologist, but look beyond ordinary foods and consider that you may have an intolerance to garden plants, herbs and other seemingly benign items (as well as environmental toxins). In the meantime, take large doses of antioxidants as the inflammation caused by the hives releases free radicals. Provided you aren’t allergic to them, herbs like stinging nettles can help, and also quercetin (found in apples and onions). Bee products (pollen, propolis, royal jelly) might be another answer – they seemed to work for Iowa Senator Tom Harkin, who is now a champion of alternative health. Homeopathic remedies that use a small portion of the offending allergen would be a good way to overcome the allergy or hives. And rash-healing soaps, made with oatmeal or calendula, should also soothe the condition. Pine tar soap is also good for irritations that don’t respond to other remedies. One practitioner suggested Bowen therapy and Australian bush essences, as she’s had experience treating an advanced case of hives in this way.